27 Ways To Shop Local This Holiday Season

Shop Local South Milwaukee

Today is Small Business Saturday, and what better time to join me in committing to shopping local this holiday season?

Be sure to like the Shop Local South Milwaukee Facebook page and maybe …

  1. Buy gift certificates from some of our great local bars and restaurants, from Azteca to China Chef to Barbiere’s to Paisano’s to Muskie’s Gourmet House to Spirts Pub & Grill to the new Tap Room – and many, many more. How about giving the gift of burgers and custard at the beach, in advance of Ferch’s returning next summer?
  2. Local coffee makes a great gift from MKE City Sippers or Nomi.
  3. Give the gift of fitness and health at Moxie Fitness, the South Milwaukee Fitness CenterSorce Martial Arts, Dowling Community Acupuncture, Drenzek Chiropractic … the list goes on.
  4. Buy one of the limited-edition South Milwaukee Community & Business Association holiday ornaments. This year, it’s the city logo.
  5. Games for Christmas? Absolutely! Shop downtown at Board Game Barrister or Pink Bunny Games for traditional family board games, Magic: The Gathering gear and more.
  6. Get a beautiful stained glass piece from Studio One Art Glass. (We have one hanging in every first-floor window of our home.)
  7. Buy some unique wood art from Larry Oleson, the man who built all of the Little Free Libraries this fall.
  8. And speaking of terrific wood pieces, Wolfgang Calnin, the retired high school choir director who owns Urbanwood Studio, also does one-of-a-kind work using rehabbed local wood, including the cool Ecophoniq smart phone speaker.
  9. Buy Rocket or South Milwaukee apparel from one of our downtown t-shirt shops, Styled Aesthetic or JB’s Tee Shirt Factory.
  10. Have a NASCAR fan in your house? Green Flag Racing downtown is the only store in the area (state?) focused on selling items only for auto racing enthusiasts (like me).
  11. Staying with collectibles, check out South Milwaukee-based MEARS Online Auctions, which has one-of-a-kind vintage sports gear, toys, and military items up for bid as we speak. Troy has also opened a military collectibles store at 723 Milwaukee Ave. (the former Voice Journal building), with the candy store to come soon.
  12. Like horror? Graveyard Records & Movie Maniacs bills itself as “the Midwest’s larger horror collectibles store,” and Dave’s store at 1013 Milwaukee Ave. doesn’t disappoint. This is very cool (and somewhat macabre) stuff you can’t get anywhere else.
  13. Shop at the South Milwaukee Christmas Market on Saturday, December 5. Around 90 local artisans are expected — 90!
  14. Give the gift of performing arts with tickets to an upcoming show at the South Milwaukee PAC.
  15. Nothing says “happy holidays” like jewelry, right? Jewelry from Donn Powers, that is.
  16. Pick up some holiday flowers or a centerpiece from Parkway Floral.
  17. How about antiques? Check out Memory Lane or Grandma’s Attic in the Fenno Building, 916 Milwaukee Ave.
  18. Buy a bandanna, jigsaw puzzle, notebook and other HANmade item — designed by South Milwaukeean Colleen McCarrier.
  19. Enjoy a children’s book from award-winning local author Janet Halfmann.
  20. Keep your vehicle running right with the gift of an oil change or three from a local car care center in our fair city.
  21. Cater your holiday meal from a local caterer like Emerald City or Charlie’s Catering.
  22. And don’t forget holiday beer, wine and spirits — I’ll put a plug in here for Leinenkugel’s Snowdrift Vanilla Porter, Blue Moon Gingerbread Spiced Ale, Redd’s Apple Ale or a nice Miller Lite or Coors Light — from local liquor stores Chicago Avenue Liquor, Marquette Liquor, King’s Row, G&K Liquor or BJ’s Liquor.
  23. Give the gift of golf this Christmas, with a free round or three at Grant Park or other county courses.
  24. Know a disc golf fan? Stop by Acetime Disc Golf.
  25. How about a VISA gift card from one of our local financial institutions?
  26. Get a loved one (or you) a new hair style, with a gift certificate from one of our local salons.
  27. And, finally, let’s not forget local chains, many of them owned by local franchisees — small business owners themselves. If you’re going to shop at a chain store this holiday season, please do so at places like Ace Hardware, Planet Fitness, Pick ‘n Save, Aldi, Cousins, Subway, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, Toppers, Walmart, Napa, Speedway, Walgreens and others that all our city home.

What did I miss? Post your comments below … and shop local!

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Filed under Local Business, South Milwaukee

Sunday: It’s Old Fashioned Christmas!


Our Christmas celebration continues on Sunday!

A special thanks to Guardian Credit Union and Max A. Sass & Son for sponsoring the return of the tree lighting fireworks … and thanks to the South Milwaukee High School music program for bringing the Madrigal Singers, drumline and other special guests for the show.

Bring your family and friends!

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Filed under 12 Days of South Milwaukee Christmas, Events, South Milwaukee

Giving Thanks For Volunteers

Family, friends, faith, a roof over my head, food to eat — and a chance to lead the best city in Wisconsin into a promising future.

I have a lot to be thankful for. But today I give thanks to volunteers.

To do it, I share the letter I wrote for the cover of the South Milwaukee Neighborhood Guide that just arrived in the mail.

I mean every word of it, from the bottom of my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Neighbors,

In this season of giving thanks, I give thanks to all of the volunteers who work tirelessly to make South MIlwaukee a better place. Their spirit is inspiring.

There are so many people who do so much for our city.

Groups like our Friends, unwavering advocates for our parks and parkways. And Growing Power, which is working to bring a community garden to South Milwaukee in 2016.

Organizations like Human Concerns, Interfaith and our local churches, which protect our most vulnerable citizens. Or the South Milwaukee Downtown Market Committee, which has helped build a truly special community event that is at the heart of our downtown revitalization efforts.

Our veterans work in a variety of ways to honor those who have served, and those who have paid the ultimate price for our country. Our local employers drive volunteerism, too, making giving back part of how they do business in South Milwaukee.

Then there are our youngest residents, like our Scouts, who have made community service core to their mission. South Milwaukee students also step up regularly. From fighting breast cancer with Pink Day activities to cleaning up our parks — I still remember the dozens of high school track athletes who turned out at Grant Park last spring — our youth are making a difference.

Volunteers also play a key role in city government. From the Plan Commission to the Board of Health to our new Beautification Committee, and many more, our dozens of board and commission members give their time and talent to guide South Milwaukee’s future.

The work of these people and organizations, and many more I haven’t listed here, is a big reason why I’m so excited about our promising future. We are all in this together, and we need each and every one of our volunteers to make our city a better place.

During this holiday season, as we celebrate with family and friends and at all the terrific events you can read about in this Guide, let’s recognize their work. Let’s say thanks. They deserve it.

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Supervisor Jursik To Not Seek Another Term

South Shore Milwaukee County Supervisor Patricia Jursik announced today she will not be seeking another term on the County Board.

From her newsletter

On Tuesday, November 24, 2016, I filed my Declaration of Non-Candidacy for the position I have held since 2007. This is the formal document indicating that I will not seek re-election for the office of County Supervisor in District 8.

It has been both a privilege and a deep personal honor to represent my fellow citizens in the South Shore of Milwaukee County. Our government is formed to allow a single individual to represent many in the particular level of government in which they serve. I have never lost sight of this representative capacity. I know you may not always have agreed with my decisions, but I hope you always felt that I was trying my best to represent our larger district and the best interests of the people. I found that this is no easy task since you will always be “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” in some circles. This being said, it has nearly always been my experience that the people of District 8 are good, hard working folks that are fair minded and grounded in common sense.

I have filed my papers well before the actual deadline of December 28, 2015 in order to give those interested in running a full month to gather signatures on nomination papers. I do ask that all voters to learn about these candidates and remember that citizenship not only includes rights but also responsibilities. Please be an informed voter. I will not endorse any candidate. This is your job, not mine.

My last day in office is April 17, 2016. I will continue to fulfill my duties until that time. God bless all of our fellow citizens in the great South Shore of Milwaukee County.

I have mixed emotions about this. While I wish Pat all the best in her retirement, I will miss her deeply in this role.

We are losing a strong, caring and tireless advocate for South Milwaukee and the entire South Shore. I respect Pat tremendously, and, while we didn’t agree on every issue (we did on most), I wish I had four more years to work with her on priorities like enhancing our parks, revitalizing the Oak Creek watershed, economic development, and other important issues.

Good luck, Pat.

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Filed under Milwaukee County, Politics, South Milwaukee

The Joes: Meet The Students Behind Painting The Rock

The painting of the rock near the entrance to South Milwaukee High School is a really cool tradition. What two Rocket seniors did with it last week is inspiring.

Meet Joey Kontowski and Joey Chojnacki, aka “The Joes.”

“They are best friends,” write Erik Wolbach, engineering teacher at the high school.

He continued:

“They are both students in our Technology & Engineering Academy. Joey Kontowski just enlisted in the Army Reserve as an engineer. He also works for the city during the summer doing road repairs. Both students serve as mentors to younger students in our machine tools program.

“They are also members of our Veterans Day student volunteers. This year we manufactured freedom pens in the Academy to give as gifts to our Veterans during the celebration on November 11th. Both students spent many extra hours after school to work on making the pens. As a reward for their hard work we were able to tour USS Milwaukee last week down at Veterans Park.”

 (In the picture below, Joey Chojnacki is at the far left, and Joey Kontowski is on the far right.)

 Congratulations to both of these young men, and thank you!

USS Milwaukee Student Picture

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Filed under Schools, South Milwaukee

Looking The Part For The Holidays

Thanks to our new Beautification Committee, the Street Department and local businesses like Parkway Floral for their work in decorating South Milwaukee this holiday season. It looks terrific, and it was on full display at Christmas on the Avenue today.

It’s inspiring to see this community come together.

Christmas carriage

Christmas tree lighting 2015

Christmas decorations

City Hall Christmas lights


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Two Families Displaced In House Fire


From the South Milwaukee Fire Department Facebook page

At 5:05 this morning, SMFD rec’d a call for smoke in the upper unit of a two-story duplex at 1431 Michigan Ave. Upon arrival, units encountered a fire burning in the attic and a Full Still response requested (Oak Creek & Cudahy). The fire was quickly extinguished and extensive overhaul ensued to ensure the fire didn’t extend to more of the attic area under the blown-in insulation. Both mutual aid departments were cancelled. No injuries were reported. Two families were displaced, but declined assistance from the American Red Cross.

Please keep these families in your thoughts and prayers.

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Filed under Fire, South Milwaukee